Thursday, May 10, 2018

12 Easy Tips To Cook A Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

So you've been tasked with hosting Thanksgiving this year, huh?

Don't worry! I've got you covered with a bunch of tips and charts to make that last minute rush to the table a little bit easier! 

Bonus Tip: Don't wear your turkey on your head. It's unsanitary, for you and the bird.

1. Know how big a turkey you need.

Before buying your bird you need to know how many people are attending your dinner so you can select an appropriately sized one. The general rule I've found online is 1-2lbs per person, but there are also handy online calculators (like this one from Butterball) which take the guesswork out for you! Feel free to add a few extra people to the headcount, to ensure leftovers. 

2. And know how long it will take to thaw.

A fully thawed turkey is an important part of cooking it perfectly, especially if you plan to deep fry it (not thawed = BOOM), so plan your schedule accordingly. Government guidelines recommend 24 hours per 4-5lbs if you're thawing in the refrigerator, or 30 minutes per pound when thawing in cold water. 

3. Prepare to carve that beast!

You may think that the hard work is done once the bird's out of the oven, but how you carve it can make a big difference in how juicy and tender the meat is when it hits the plate. 

The beautiful step-by-step carving chart on the next page will ensure you always get the most meat from your bird!

4. Learn how to always get the best pieces!

Don't just hack away at it. Turn carving into an artform with this chart!

5. As a bonus turkey-enhancer, try the brining method!

Soaking the bird in a flavorful liquid can make a HUGE difference in the final product. Try it once, and you'll never go back. But... where to stash a giant bird and its watery bath? As long as you've thoroughly cleaned it, a standard camp cooler will do. If you don't have one, my family has always gone for a heavy duty plastic bag in a big ole' bucket. 

6. Make as much ahead of time as possible!

If you can get it done early, do it. There is no sense in making your already hectic day crazier.

7. Even if you can't finish it, prep it!

Maybe you've got something that needs to be cooked the day of, but that doesn't mean you can't prep as much as possible in advance. Get all that time-consuming chopping out of the way early and the cooking will be a cinch when the time comes. 

So you have a bird... but what about the rest of the meal?

8. Master the fluffy mashed potatoes.

My personal tool of choice for fluffy, but not gummy, mashed potatoes is a ricer. Just smoosh the boiled tatters through it, add some butter, cream, and garlic, then whip together with a fork. Done. 

9. Another option is to store those potatoes in a crockpot.

Save a bunch of steps and dishes by preparing the mashed potatoes in the same vessel they'll stay warm in.

10. Pick a pie everyone will love.

Assuming everyone has room for dessert (to all those going back for seconds and thirds of the entrée, what's wrong with you?! There's still pie!), this handy chart shows what kinds of pie are the most popular in the U.S.

11. Lots of pies can be prepped and frozen ahead of time.

Freeze an unbaked, but fully assembled fruit or berry pie so that it's ready to bake when the event is nigh. Custard-based pies don't freeze as well, but you can still get the crust ready and save the custard for the day of. 

12. Get your timing right.

Always have a schedule ready before you start. You will feel so much more prepared and relaxed!

Time to eat!

Bonus game!

Have fun with the event! A light-hearted game, like Thanksgiving Bingo, can really liven things up!

Be sure to SHAREthese tips with your Thanksgiving host!


Author: verified_user